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7 of the most effective leadership skills that will maximise your potential

Written by Justin Richardson | 14 Sep 2018

Often, people are mistaken in thinking that all it takes is a great idea, some raw intelligence and an entrepreneurial mindset to master business success.

But it often comes down to the abilities and leadership skills of the owner/manager. First and foremost, businesses must have longevity - sustainability, and a great service or product isn’t always enough to keep a business afloat through inevitable volatility.

Business owners must consistently nurture a sustainable skill set that sets them above potential competitors and helps them become a respected and reputable leader.

By making a focused effort to nurture some of the most effective leadership skills, one can nurture a more resilient and sustainable business.

1. Communication

It may sound obvious, but strong communication is essential to the success of any business. When communication among teams is clear and transparent, everyone can operate fairly, more efficiently and more productively.

Communication also aids in relationship- building, giving you the power to exchange valuable knowledge and building strong and valuable connections.

Communication skills are a huge investment in your business. And they can be channelled through many avenues, including networking, social media, exhibitions, training events. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to nurture those valuable relationships.

2. Confidence

In the initial months of building your brand, it’s very easy to give in to bartering requests of prospects expecting freebies and discounts. But having confidence in the value of your product will stand you in good stead for the future. Confidence helps you overcome fear, stand up for yourself and exceed your perceived limits.

You need to believe in the value of yourself and your service/product if you expect others to as well. Once you start giving it away or offering it for less, it depletes in value and demonstrates a lack of confidence and assertion.

The fact that confidence is the key to success has been written about widely before. Confident people are said to be self-drivers, overcome fear, believe in themselves, and have the power to say no. Those around you tend to pick up on confidence and find it easier to trust those who embody self-belief.

3. Empathy

Empathy and compassion are the cornerstones of great business management. They fuel the buzz of emotional intelligence; the capacity to be aware of, and in control of your own feelings; a fundamental trait that enables you to empathise with others. Empathy puts you in tune with the wants and needs of others, empowering you to mitigate challenges and predict scenarios that could occur as a result of an emotion or feeling.

If you sense something has happened that is affecting an individual’s attitude towards their work, having genuine empathy can support you in your approach to dealing with that situation.

What it comes down to is remembering that we are all humans. Employees have lives away from work, which can affect their performance. Your ability to recognise, understand and manage your own behaviour in accordance can be the making or breaking of your business.

Ultimately, emotional intelligence is the self-awareness that empowers you to demonstrate consistency and calmness; keeping your emotions in check and under control. 

4. Agility and adaptability

 The business landscape is disruptive, unpredictable and highly volatile. Much of the time, we are forced outside of our comfort zone and into situations we may not have prepared for. That’s when adaptability and agility come into play. To be adaptable in a climate like this means having the capacity to bounce back in times of uncertainty, keeping your business afloat, sustainably and competitively.

Trends also demand a level of agility and adaptability, and this must come from the top level, as the versatility of the owner/manager funnels into the wider business. Being aware of existing trends, the social, economical and political climate, and being open and adaptable is vital in maintaining business agility.

5. Authenticity

A trusted leader shows integrity and honesty, gaining the respect of his or her employees and clients. This comes with authenticity. Being true to yourself and your values, while being genuine and selfless enables you to build loyalty with your customers and employees. Often leaders feel it is necessary to be ruthless and narcissistic to make it to the top. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Authenticity equally helps with communication and productivity, since team members will be more inclined to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of being shamed or feeling like they can’t trust you.

This level of trustworthiness will better every area of your life, not just your business, for it promotes long-lasting relationships that go on to serve you and your business.

6. Time management

Tardiness is a sure fire way to demonstrate a lack of commitment, competence and organisation which are all valuable assets so akin to a successful entrepreneur. Poor time management skills can also affect others’ ability to put their trust in you. If you can’t manage your own time, what other areas of your skill set are lacking? It sounds dramatic, but good time management skills make everything run a lot smoother.

Being an entrepreneur often means you’re spinning multiple plates, but if managing your time is a priority, your days become more efficient and productive.

7. Problem-solving

If you are to succeed in your industry, you need to become a master at problem-solving. Clients and employees will inevitably turn to you to solve their problems, and when you confidently help them achieve their goal and mitigate their challenges, they become happy advocates of your brand.

The bulk of these skills come naturally to most of us, at least to some extent. Otherwise, how else could we succeed in any social or professional endeavour? But to really master each of these attributes takes time, experience, and commitment.

The fundamental lesson here is to remember is that successful business owners are always learning and always show a willingness to learn. Your local Chamber of Commerce often facilitate training workshops and can put you in touch with the best educational bodies should you wish to build upon your business skills.


Justin Richardson

Written by Justin Richardson

Justin is CEO of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

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